The Hula Hoop Games – Buenos Aires – Part 2

The accuracy events involve both throwing and rolling. The basic idea is that the hoop should land over one of three 2-feet long armadillos that are placed at distances of 100, 200, and 300 feet from the thrower. Since 1963, pottery armadillos have been used instead of real ones in order to save the animals from the mental cruelty of having objects thrown at them. The contestant receives 5 points for completely circling the 100-feet armadillo, 10 points for circling the 200-feet armadillo, and 20 points for circling the 300-feet armadillo. If the hoop balances on the animal then no points are awarded, but the hoop counts as a ‘toucher’. If two people are level on points after the six rounds of competition then the number of touchers is taken into account to try and break the tie.

The record for the throwing event is 75 by Vincent Chang from Shanghai in 2004. Vincent landed two hula hoops on the 300-feet armadillo, 3 on the 200-feet animal, and one on the 100-feet one. This is the only time someone has scored with every throw of the hoop in an open competition in history. Chang used his right arm to spin the hoop above his head and described his feat as “very lucky, because I have only used my right arm for about six weeks and so haven’t had much practice; I used to use my left foot but hurt it playing soccer and had to change.”

The record for the rolling is 65 by Brenda Hedges from Darwin in Australia in 1979; she played crown green bowls for years and used the same deliberate method of delivery to ensure the hoop travelled a specific distance before falling over onto the armadillo. One method of playing has been banned; named the ‘Barnes Wallace’ approach after the inventor of the “Bouncing Bomb” in WWII, this technique was introduced by Barry Mitchell from England, who found that if he threw the hoop and made it bounce on the ground two or three times before landing the hoop on the armadillo then the hoop slide down the sides of the pottery creature and nestled on the ground.

Extract from Sports the Olympics Forgot

Published by Julian Worker

Julian was born in Leicester, attended school in Yorkshire, and university in Liverpool. He has been to 94 countries and territories and intends to make the 100 when travel is easier. He writes travel books, murder / mysteries and absurd fiction. His sense of humour is distilled from The Marx Brothers, Monty Python, Fawlty Towers, and Midsomer Murders. His latest book is about a Buddhist cat who tries to help his squirrel friend fly further from a children's slide.

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